Humber Bridge Half Marathon

Sunday morning, alarm set for 6am…..

Haven’t run since Tuesday so the legs should be fresh…..

On a thankfully cooler morning we were up, dressed, stuff grabbed together and in the car by 7am.  Not feeling prepared at all!

I’m sure there is a bit of slightly hysterical humour on a morning such as this, when we are wondering at what point setting your alarm this early on a Sunday and going to run a long way became fun.  This became evident when we spotted a club mates car up ahead… hence we had to overtake on the dual carriage way and wave manically at them.  At least it gave us all a giggle.

After a quick stop at the garage for cash, sweets and water we arrived in good time to be directed to park in the school playing fields.  This was a good few minutes walk away for the start / finish area but not too bad.

As numbers and chips had been posted out, there wasn’t much that needed to be done once we were actually there which meant the time was passed by taking group selfies and queuing for the loo.  Managed to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time (in the loo queue, where else?!) who went on to run a fab race and got second in her age category (well done Sharon!).

You are then shepherded out of the finish area to make your way onto the road for the start.  I was pleased that we weren’t hanging around here very long and that the loudspeaker for the organiser was very loud – too often you struggle to hear what race directors are saying.  Some nice loud music added to the atmosphere too.

This was my first time doing this race, but my OH had run it last year.  I’d already told him to stop telling me which were his ‘worst bits / hated bits / boring bits’ as I wanted to approach the course without his opinions affecting me (you know if you are told it’s a horrid hill, it’s already horrid before you’ve even got there).  We had kind of decided to run together, with the agreement that if one of us was feeling stronger then they would go on ahead and not hang back for the other.

And we were off !

The first few miles of the race takes you underneath the Humber Bridge and in a square around Hessle to join the approach road for the bridge itself. For some reason I didn’t really settle in and feel like the race was underway until I was on the bridge.  I think this is because so much emphasis is put on running on the bridge.

Humber Bridge Half 2017
On the Humber Bridge (thanks Charley for the picture)

As you pass through the toll booths onto the bridge you pass the two mile marker.  11.1 miles to go.  A slight climb up towards the centre of the bridge and then a nice long downhill down towards the southbank.  I was grateful for the breeze up here as running around town had been surprisingly warm.

I’d kind of decided that I needed to take advantage of the elevation and use the downhills to get my average pace up… hence why mile 4  was completed in 8.59 mins – my quickest mile of the whole race.

The route then takes you up the slip road which is a fairly steep hill, before a decent into Barton and a big loop around the town.  This was probably the bit I found most boring.  Yes there were spectators, but I’m not keep on running through towns at any time.

I knew that we would go through the mile 8 marker at around the point that we passed underneath the bridge on the southbank – and I had this in my head as a way to think that I was nearly two thirds of the way through the race.  I knew that shortly after this we would have to face ‘Cardiac Hill’ and my mental games were focused on thinking that it didn’t matter if this hill was hard, I was in the last third of the race.

The hill was hard.

I did walk part of it – not a lot though, and tried to keep up a good fast paced walk when I did.  At this point my OH went on ahead but I was determined to keep him in sight.  Ten mile marker and we made our way back onto the A15 to approach the bridge for the second time.  Just was we were on the bridge itself I managed to catch back up with my OH and it was nice to have his support in the final couple of miles.

Now you might think that a bridge is relatively flat, or that if it was a climb to the centre and then downhill on the way over, then it must be the same on the way back…  No it isn’t !

The southbank is obviously at a much lower level than the northbank (see, running helps with geography too 😉 ) so what was a gentle climb followed by a nice downhill on the way out, was a long uphill followed by just about level on the way back.  On tired legs this was hard.  Add in to the mix that it was now quite windy and I was getting buffeted around and it sapped every bit of energy out of the system.

I had worn my camelbak, filled with tailwind and had been forcing myself to have at least a few sips every mile, but by the time I’d hit 11 miles I just couldn’t face any more (I’d actually drunk very little when I looked to see how much was left in the camelbak).

I was very grateful to come off the bridge and make my way into the finish.  Where the sprint finish (best pace 5.27 min / mile!) came from I have no idea.

Humber Bridge Half 2017 2
Sprint finish!  (thanks Charley for the picture)

My ideal would have been to run at a 9 min / mile average pace.  I knew that this was not possible due to the lack of training and my weight.  I’d therefore set myself another target that I’d be very happy if I managed to average a 9.30 min / mile pace.  I actually didn’t think that this was likely at all.

We did miss the 2 hour mark, coming in at 02:04:33

But I did get the 9.30 min / mile average 🙂

Humber Bridge Half 2017 3

Did I enjoy it?

Not sure – I found it very hard and my lack of preparation showed

Will I do it again?

I’m not rushing to enter it for next year, but if I was looking at doing another road half marathon I would consider it.

Bling?

Nice tshirt and medal.  Engraving of your medal offered onsite for £3.50.

Sledmere Sunset Trail 10k

‘A scenic 10k multi terrain run starting and finishing in the grounds of Sledmere House, Sledmere.’

My first time at this event.  Pretty local to me, beautiful countryside, off road – it meant that I really did need to enter.  Despite it being very hard, I’m pleased I did.

This is an evening run, with a start time of 7.30pm – not a time that I generally choose to run if I can help it but I think it leads to a nice relaxed atmosphere and everyone seemed to be pretty chilled.  Parking was easy, as was registration and picking up numbers.  One thing to note is that this is not chip timed (important for some).

19144120_1321289747907745_693673115929463010_o
coming into the finish – it was warm!

A short queue at last minute for the loo (I’d not realised the start was a little way from the front of Sledmere House, so would be a little bit earlier in the queue another year!) and we headed to the front of the house and then to walk down to the start area.  It really is a beautiful setting, so worth lifting your head up and having a look round.  We had a stunning evening of clear blue skies that made everything look pretty special.

I keep saying ‘we’ but haven’t explained that one.  I was with my partner and there were fifteen of us from our running club – a good turnout for a small club particularly when there are several races this weekend in the area.

Pleased to say that there wasn’t much hanging around at the start and we were off.  A short level section on a chalk track followed quickly by a climb. I find this really difficult early on in a race, before I’ve had time to warm up properly and find a rhythm.   The course consisted of a small loop followed by a larger loop which took in part of the first but in the opposite direction.  Mile two ended up being a fab mile for me and my quickest of the race (not the best pacing but never mind!) as it was through the woods and slightly downhill.  I did pay for this later on in the race though when the legs were burning.

The worst section of the race was around mile four (and my slowest mile). We were taken out of the woods and into a dale bottom which was deceiving in looking quite flat but was actually a steady climb the whole length.  Add to this the fact that the grass had been cut, but still left pretty long and all of the grass cuttings were piled on top.  This just sapped the energy from my legs!  A very steep but thankfully short hill led the way out of the dale (I’ll admit that I walked this) and back onto tracks and eventually into the woods again.

I’d decided that I was going to push hard for this race, and that I did.  I aimed to try and keep with a fellow club member and I finished just 22 seconds behind her, so thanks Karyn for helping me keep the pace up.  I’m pretty pleased with the result – I’m still not back to where I was, but this was a hard course, on a very warm evening and I had a great run and knew that I’d given everything I had.

Official time:  56:16

38 / 137 females

Cross training

Where are the weeks disappearing to?!

I’ve been aiming to get out on my push bike for weeks as a form of cross training.  Yesterday was the first day that I managed it.

The only cross training (if you can even class it as training) that I do is walking and the odd bit of yoga.  Both help, in particular the walking, at stretching and loosening achy joints and muscles, but I don’t think they do a lot for strength.   I have a mountain bike – not ideal for road biking, but it will certainly do and after comments from a friend on how much taking up biking has helped her running I was determined to try and incorporate this into my routine.

  • Session 1 = four miles (slightly hilly!)

I know it doesn’t seem like far, but it is a start!  Even for this distance I can feel my legs having to work different muscles and it is pretty hard work.  I’m not aiming for fast (and didn’t time the ride either); at the moment I just want to complete it.  I hadn’t felt great yesterday and could easily have stayed at home curled up on the sofa, but I didn’t, I got my bike out and went.  So I’m classing that as a success.

Next ride planned for Wednesday, which takes the weeks plan to this:

  • Mon:  1.5 mile walk, 4 mile bike
  • Tues: 1.5 mile walk, club track session
  • Wed: 1.5 mile walk, 4 mile bike
  • Thurs: 1.5 mile walk, 4 – 6 mile club run
  • Fri: 1.5 mile walk, 10k trail race
  • Sat: parkrun 3 miles
  • Sun: ??????  long walk

That is looking like a busy week!!

Last week I only ran three times, and incorporated parkrun into a long run.  I set off running in a bit of a fluster after setting off nice and early, planning to get to parkrun, do a minimum of 6 miles first but a road closure due to an accident (meaning I had to double back for several miles before I could take an alternative route) meant that I was much later than planned but still managed 4 miles.  My hips were achy right from the off due to three hours digging in the garden the night before…

I took a route through Danes Dyke for the first time – and I’ll happily do it again.  It is lovely and lots of steps to work on the legs J

DanesDyke
Danes Dyke

parkrun was completed with a friend on her first run in ages – a very nice three miles with lots of chat and catch up and then I headed straight off for another 6 miles.  I won’t lie, it was hard work.  But I’m very glad that I did it as the final long run before Humber Bridge Half Marathon.

Do you cross train?  What do you find best?

May 2017 Round up

Last day of the month and it’s a rest day, so I thought I’d have a look back to see how the month has gone.

May 2017 round up

34888029876_d2dc5db48c_k
Sewerby parkun – nearly at the finish
  • Total miles:  87.38
  • Number of runs: 17
  • Races: 0

VERY pleased with the miles for the month!  14 more miles than last month, but in the same amount of runs – shows that I’ve been increasing the distance of the long runs.

Last night was track session and I really struggled with it.  I normally thoroughly enjoy these sessions and pushing myself hard, but last night there was just nothing in the tank.   The session was walk, jog, run, sprint between cone markers.  First one way, and then swap and go the other way round the track which meant that the walk was shorter, the sprint longer.  Because it was Bank Holiday Monday we’d taken Sunday as a rest day and did our long run of 11.5 miles on Monday.  I’m presuming (hoping?!) that this is the reason that I struggled with the track session this time.

But……..  this month has been good overall.  I’ve run my quickest parkrun in a long time and finally got back under 26 minutes and I’ve had some really good long runs.

Next month is busy, I’ve entered Sledmere Sunset trail 10k and Humber Bridge Half Marathon……

Running in the rain

Are we all enjoying the sunshine?!  It is beautiful at the moment, though I think club run this evening is going to be a very warm one.  (are you wondering about the post title yet?)

It has been a hectic few weeks again and I’ve realised that I didn’t do an April round up, so here you go:

April 2017 round up

  • Total miles:  73
  • Number of runs: 17
  • Races: 2

So that is a nice amount of miles for the month, and back to more where I want to be.  My average pace for the month (yes I’m a stats freak and I like working it out) 09:25 min per mile.  I’m really pleased to see that after struggling for quite a while to get my pace to where I wanted it.  Still have a way to go, but it is coming back.

This pic shows my pace for a recent club run.  I had to include it for a bit of a giggle.  This was a lovely evening run with club, a combination of road and off road, warm and muggy to start with lots of refreshing rain for the second half of the run.

Screenshot_2017-05-18-21-05-27

See the spike on the pace chart?  See the maximum pace – 5:22 min mile !!  That’ll be the field with cows, calves and bull in then…..  I am very scared going through livestock like this, and would only go across with several guys surrounding me (and our club coach who is as scared as I am!).  As soon as the way to the gate was clear I just went for it.  I suppose it could class as interval training…..

We really welcomed the rain on this run.  It was an overcast but very warm evening, with lots of bugs about.  It started with a heavy drizzle and got heavier until it was really raining.  There is something pretty fun about running in the rain.  Warm rain, no wind.  Perfect way to cool down !

Does anyone else like it or is it just me?

The Hornsea Triangle Trail run

18156996_10211765215822408_473294124944461009_nI’m always looking for new routes to try, as close to home as possible for convenience, which lead me to look on my local council website where they have a section for walks – showing routes, with distance and descriptions.  Really useful!  I saw this route quite a while ago but hadn’t had the chance to go and run it until the Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday morning found me and my OH heading off to the nearest point of the route to us to find somewhere to park and set off.  We’d decided that Seaton would be a good place to start, so that is where we headed – hadn’t even got out of the car and OH realised he’d forgotten his watch.  Oh well, that’ll be one that isn’t on his Garmin stats then!

18193830_10211765213182342_2549128355721153709_n
The old railway line

Just a couple of hundred metres on the road before we took a public footpath across a grass field (full of sheep and lambs at this time of year) and made our way towards the Wassand Estate where we picked up a public bridleway.  This part of the route was on rough track with quite a few gates to go through.  We missed our turning (the footpath sign wasn’t good!), but soon realised and picked up the path again which unfortunately for me lead into a field with bullocks in.  Now those that know me, know that I don’t like cattle.  I’m scared of them.  I was chased a few years ago by a cow whilst out walking and I now really don’t like going into fields where there are cattle.  However we were already a good way across the field (diagonally – the worst obviously!) before we saw them, so we just had to carry on.  My OH jokes that it was the fastest I ran on the whole route, but I really am scared!

18221984_10211765212342321_6218215159796736841_n
Can you spot the cattle?!  I was scared….

We finally came to the little church at Goxhill, that I’d never seen before.  It is a lovely little church and we’d timed it just as they were ringing the bell for morning service.  After a quick photo stop we were onto a short road section until we found the old railway line (Hull to Hornsea) that we followed all the way to Hornsea.  If you’ve never found an old railway line to run on, they are generally very good – straight, flat, fairly sheltered routes.

18193678_10211765212702330_4303539252841793779_n

We had the choice of two different routes to get back to the car from Hornsea – through the town and along the road and then footpath to the North of the main road, or off road just to the south of the mere.  We decided off road was the best choice so set off again.  It was beautiful!  A great route near the mere and then through some more fields (luckily empty!) back to the Wassand estate.  We then had a bit of an extra road loop to make the run up to 8 miles.

18195013_10211765214422373_8048037277098195920_n
Hornsea Mere

18222427_10211765212142316_1324484935622296626_n

It was a glorious day (need to find the sun cream if we have another day like this out running!), the route was fab and we thoroughly enjoyed the very relaxed run.  This for me is what running is about 🙂

18193916_10211765217382447_9222480319207603700_n

Mental Health

Nine years ago today I’d just got married.  Little did I know on that day that the marriage wouldn’t last very long and I’d be hurt in a way that I never thought would happen. (In hindsight there were definitely warning signs that I should have paid heed to).

Last night I watched the first episode of Mind Over Marathon on BBC.  From what I’d already read on social media I knew that the programme would be emotional but what I didn’t expect was to recognise myself in what was been spoken about.

I watched the programme with my other half, someone who knows me better than I know myself !  He was a friend for many years before becoming my significant other and had to watch as my marriage fell apart and the affect that had on me.  Once, many years ago, he did broach the subject of depression and wondered if it would be a good idea for me to visit my GP.  I brushed this off in my typical stubborn manner… ‘I can’t be depressed, I’m still functioning’ ‘I can still be happy sometimes’ ‘I can’t be ill, I’ve got to look after my child’ (as if anyone ever makes the choice to be ill…).  And I never did go to the GP.  I’m lucky in that I did have some support and I know now I was being watched / monitored / worried about, whatever you want to call it, in case things deteriorated with my mental health.

Rhian on the programme, who had suffered the loss of her child and husband within five days, was describing herself and the way she was ‘coping’.  My other half looked at me and said that I was very similar to this lady.  And yes I can see that my coping strategies are very similar.  Very good at pushing grief / pain / upset away as you daren’t / can’t / won’t face it.  Rhian, you are an incredibly brave woman. To share your story and your journey with others is a huge step to take.

I think of myself as lucky that I found running when I did.  Running definitely helps with my mental health.  I have run and cried many a time.  I’ve run to get rid of the physical feelings of frustration.  Running helps!

2 Races plus parkrun!

What an Easter weekend!

Bridlington Easter Dash 5 miler – Good Friday

I only decided the day before to enter this race.  It is pretty local to me, no hassle to get there, would know plenty of people.  And the biggest thing……  my teenage son said he would do it if I did!

The race starts at the lifeguard station near Limekiln Lane car park in Bridlington.  It consists of two laps – a small one and then a big one.  Apparently this is a change from previous years where it has been a different one lap route.  I didn’t mind this too much, although felt like I didn’t settle into the race until I’d started the second lap.  Terrain was tarmac / rough path / grass / bark chippings – a little bit of everything!  And don’t forget the steps either.  Due to the wind it also felt like you were running on two different days!  On the way out, towards Sewerby, it was very warm but as soon as you turned to come back along the cliff top it was a head wind and pretty cold.

I managed a finish time of 43:57 which I was over the moon with!  Helped by running with our club coach, it was a really good run.  (And my son, who hasn’t run more than 3 miles since last November…..  he came in at 44:50!)

Bling?  Yes, a pretty good medal for everyone and a crème egg seeing as it is Easter.

Would I do it again? Yes I probably would – it isn’t the most exciting route, but it is convenient and good fun.

parkrun

I have to mention parkrun here although I didn’t run this week as I’d decided I was overdue to volunteer.   I’ve made a commitment to myself to volunteer a minimum of three times a year.  I don’t think this is much to ask really and as something I want to see continue I believe I should support it to do so.

So, Sewerby parkrun, Easter weekend.  Wow!  What a turnout.  347 people.  99 more than our previous attendance record.   Thanks in part to a large touring party from Sowerby Bridge Snails (great to see you all!) plus lots of other visitors this was a great turnout.

Helmsley 10k Multi terrain challenge – Easter Sunday

Another good turnout for Yorkshire Wolds Runners on a chilly Sunday morning in Helmsley.  A challenging course, with the first two miles being uphill on roads, onto tracks and fields as it levels out and then drops back down.  I found the hill hard and did walk for a short stretch.  I was slower than I’d hoped for the first two miles so decided that rather than targeting a finish time I would aim for negative splits.  That way I’d still feel like it was a successful run.  I was struggling mentally to find the motivation to push on – how do you deal with this?

Screenshot_2017-04-18-16-47-50

 I managed it – just!

Official finish time:  58:50

Bling?  An Easter Egg and a Mug

Would I do it again?  Yes.  I enjoy off road and I have unfinished business with that hill!

Early morning fasted running? Do you or don’t you?

20170406_064252 (1).jpg
Yorkshire Sunrise

Early morning fasted running?  Do you or don’t you?

I ask this because our club coach posted that she had done and that it wasn’t a regular thing for her.  We discussed it and she is happy to go out and do 5-7k but is aware that pace won’t be as good as it could be.  This got me thinking!

By choice, I run first thing in the morning, before breakfast.  I generally have half a glass of water and head straight out of the door.  Ok, I’m not aiming for world records, but I do sometimes push for intervals / tempo runs etc.  I also rarely eat prior to parkrun or a morning race.

I love running at this time in the morning, particularly when the sky is clear – it’s quiet, you get to see wildlife and it sets you up for the day.  At the moment I’m out the door just after 6am, so there is no way I’m getting up at 4.30 / 5am just to eat something but on parkrun days it is relatively easy to change what I do as I’m normally awake by 7am anyway.

Do you think it makes much difference?  Or only over a certain distance?

On the same theme I’m currently following the 5:2 diet.  So on one or two days of the week restricting my intake to between 600 – 800 calories.  If I choose carefully, this still means that I’m having three meals.  So far I’ve been avoiding running the morning after a fast day, but would it make any difference?  I think I’m going to have to try and it and see how I get on.